Centre signs pact to address Tripura's indigenous issues
March 3, 2024

Why in news?

  • A tripartite agreement between TIPRA Motha and the governments of Tripura and India was signed to bring a lasting solution to the problems of the state's indigenous people.
    • The Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance is popularly known as Tipra Motha.
    • It is a regional political party in Tripura, led by Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barma.
    • The Tipra Motha’s demands include:
      • a Greater Tipraland;
      • more powers for the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC);
      • Roman script to be declared as the official script for the indigenous Kokborok language.
      • Kokborok is a Tibeto-Burman language spoken by the Tripuri people in Tripura and neighboring areas of Bangladesh.
  • The pact seeks to resolve all issues faced by Tripura's indigenous people regarding history, land and political rights, economic development, identity, culture and language.
    • This pact is eleventh in the series of agreements signed in the current term of the govt to make North-East region free of insurgency, violence and disputes.

What’s in today’s article?

  • Demand for Greater Tipraland
  • News Summary

Demand for Greater Tipraland

  • Greater Tipraland is the core ideological demand of the TIPRA Motha.
  • The objective is to carve out a new State for the 19 indigenous tribes of Tripura under Articles 2 and 3 of the constitution.
    • Article 2 - Parliament may by law admit into the Union, or establish, new States on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit.
    • Article 3 comes into play in the case of formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States by the Parliament.
  • Regional extent of the proposed State
    • The demand seeks to include every tribal person living in indigenous area or village outside the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) under the proposed model.
    • However, the idea doesn’t restrict to simply the Tripura tribal council areas.
      • It extends to include ‘Tiprasa’ of Tripuris spread across different states of India like Assam, Mizoram etc.
      • It also includes those living in Bandarban, Chittagong, Khagrachari and other bordering areas of neighbouring Bangladesh.

How did the demand originate?

  • Apprehension of the indigenous communities
    • The demand mainly stems from the anxiety of the indigenous communities in connection with the change in the demographics of the state, which has reduced them to a minority.
    • It happened due to the huge influx of refugees from East Pakistan. The flood of refugees led to bitter differences.
      • From 63.77 per cent in 1881, the population of the tribals in Tripura was down to 31.80 per cent by 2011.
    • The indigenous people have not only been reduced to a minority, but have also been dislodged from land reserved for them
  • Ethnic conflict and insurgency
    • Later, ethnic conflict and insurgency gripped the state, which shares a nearly 860-km long boundary with Bangladesh.
      • The conflict between the tribals and the non-tribals escalated in 1980 and took the shape of armed insurgency.
      • The demand for autonomous regions or separate statehood during this time metamorphosed to sovereignty and independence.
      • However, after a political truce was reached between the State and the rebel groups, the demand for statehood was revived.
  • Rise of Ethnic-Politics
    • There has been a revival of ethnic nationalism in Tripura by the newly formed political party.
    • It is trying to unite people from both tribal and non-tribal behind ethnic identity since 2019.
    • This party claims that a separate state could alone alleviate problems faced by Tripuri tribes.
  • Alleged discrimination faced by Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC)
    • The TTADC receives two percent of the State budget while it has 40% of the State’s population.
      • TTADC was formed under the sixth schedule of the Constitution in 1985.
      • Its aim is to ensure development and secure the rights and cultural heritage of the tribal communities.
      • It has legislative and executive powers and covers nearly two-third of the state’s geographical area.
    • It also highlights the unfulfilled demands of revising National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Tripura.

News Summary: Centre signs pact to address Tripura's indigenous issues

  • A tripartite agreement aimed at making Tripura dispute-free by resolving all issues concerning its indigenous people, was co-signed by the Centre, Tripura govt and The Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA).

Key highlights of the agreement

  • Amicably resolve all issues of indigenous people of Tripura
    • It was agreed to amicably resolve all issues of indigenous people of Tripura relating to history, land and political rights, economic development, identity, culture and language.
  • Joint working group
    • It was agreed to constitute a joint working group/ committee to work out and implement the mutually agreed points on all the above-mentioned issues in a time-bound manner to ensure an honourable solution.
  • Ensure peace in the region by refraining from protests
    • All stakeholders shall refrain from resorting to any form of protest/ agitation, starting from the day of signing of the agreement.